Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Traditional Kerala Fruit Cake

Few months back Mrs. AMMINI RAMACHANDRAN appeared as a guest on Show Me The Curry, where she baked a traditional fruit cake from her home town of Kerala. When I saw her bake this cake, I immediately wanted to give it a try. This is a very authentic fruit cake which is traditionally made during Christmas and the nuts and dried fruits are soaked in rum or brandy for several days. However, to cut down on this long prep time, Ammini suggested soaking the fruits in brandy/ rum and warming them over low heat for a few minutes. I chose to follow the recipe without making any changes, to maintain the authenticity of this traditional cake. The cake turned out to be very delicious and we loved the taste of the rum soaked dried fruits. This recipe rocks...I'll surely treasure it for the rest of my life.

Ingredients -
Raisins - 1 cup
Dates - 1 cup, chopped
Candied Orange/Lemon Peel - 1/4 cup, sliced thin
Brandy or Rum - 1/4 cup (I used Rum)
Unsalted Cashew Pieces - 1 cup
Sugar - 6 Tbsp
Water - 3 Tbsp
Lemon Juice - few drops
Boiling Water - 1/2 cup
Unsalted Butter - 2 sticks (8 oz) at room temperature
Powdered Sugar - 2 1/2 cups
Eggs - 3 large or 4 medium (separated)
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
All-Purpose Flour - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger Powder - 1/4 tsp
Clove Powder - 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 tsp
Brandy - optional for soaking cake

Method -
1. In a medium pan, add Brandy/Rum, Dates, Raisins and Orange Peel. Cook for 1 minute on medium heat.
2. Add Cashews and continue to cook for 1 minutes until heated through. Keep aside.
3. In a small pot, add 6 Tbsp Sugar and 3 Tbsp water and few drops of lemon juice. Swirl pan to mix - do not use spoon.
4. Heat until sugar changes color and becomes caramelized. (approx 7-8 minutes).
5. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and swirl pan again to mix well. Keep aside.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter and powdered sugar and beat with hand blender.
7. Add one egg yolk at a time to the mix and blend well.
8. Add Vanilla Extract and blend.
9. Combine all dry spices, baking powder and flour and sift it into the bowl, adding little at a time and blending.
10. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Lightly coat baking pans with spray cooking oil or regular oil.
12. Add caramelized sugar syrup a little at a time into mixing bowl and blend.
13. Add fruit/nut mixture into mixing bowl and mix with a spoon.
14. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they are fluffy and soft peaks form.
15. Fold beaten egg whites into the cake batter.
16. Pour batter into greased baking pans and bake for approx 1 hour at 325 degrees. For smaller pans, baking time may vary.
17. Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool for few minutes.
18. Garnish with powdered sugar.